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Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries: A Self-Care Program Paperback – April 1, 1996
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Sharon Butler was working as a massage therapist and Hellerwork practitioner when she developed carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Unable to sleep through the night because of the pain and concerned about her livelihood, she built upon her knowledge of connective tissue and developed a series of stretching exercises to gently relieve the tension in her body. After daily stretching in this way, her pain soon subsided. To prove that these exercises weren't just a fluke, Butler intentionally overworked her body to bring back her symptoms. While this may not have been the smartest move, her stretching program again relieved her pain.
The magic behind her powerful exercises is their focus on fascial tissue. Fascia, which is stronger than steel, holds the body together. It wraps around muscle fibers, bones, and tendons. (If you've ever looked at an uncooked piece of chicken and noticed the glistening white layer over the meat, you've seen fascia.) In people who overwork their bodies, the fascia hardens, a natural response to prevent future injury. Unfortunately, this stiffness worsens with repeated insults to the body. Muscles, nerves, and tendons tense up and inflame even more and may even adhere to each other. Metabolic waste products can build up and become trapped instead of being carried away by the lymph system, and even more pressure is placed on the affected body tissues.
Enter Butler's exercises. The book is arranged to let you pick and choose the correct stretches to suit your needs. Too much typing, guitar playing, or gardening? Stiff neck, tingling fingers, sore upper arms, or all three? However you developed your repetitive strain injury and whatever your upper-body symptoms (or if you're smart and you'd like to prevent such problems), there are multiple stretches in Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to suit your needs. The book is arranged to help users develop a personalized stretching program with more than 40 stretches for the upper body, forearms, wrists, fingers, and thumbs to choose from. Butler thoroughly explains the importance of stretching and the correct (and incorrect) way to do it, and the exercises are lucidly illustrated.
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One of my favorite features of the book are the charts. One chart is finding the exercises best for you based upon your profession. The other is based upon your symptoms. Each chart has a list of recommended exercises to try, making it good place to start so you can get some relief.
The self-help manual is ideal as it is easy to use and organized by body region affected or profession. It also contains important information about proper body mechanics across a wide range of movements. Use of this manual helped me decrease discomfort and improve flexibility. This manual is a must for seniors who have accumulated injuries over the decades!